This question is one that is frequently asked in estate planning. A medical power of attorney in Texas is a signed paper that allows you to assign your right to make medical decisions for yourself to another person if you are unable to make such decisions at that time. There are many such circumstances wherein you may not be able to make such important medical decisions, such as a critical illness or injury that leaves you unable to communicate or make relevant medical decisions for yourself. Without such documentation, a hospital or physician may not know which loved one or relative you would have wanted to make your important medical decisions when you could not do so yourself. That is why having a medical power of attorney is so important in your estate planning process.
Needless to say, the person to whom you give your medical power of attorney should be someone you can fully trust and will make the best medical decisions in your interest. Further, after executing such medical power of attorney it is critical that you speak with the person and or persons you have designated as your power of attorney so that they will know your wishes concerning your medical care should that individual ever have to act under such document. Unlike a statutory durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney only goes into effect once a physician has determined that you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself. Further, once an individual has suffered a major illness or injury and is unable to make medical decisions for herself, that individual no longer has capacity to execute a power of attorney; therefore, executing your medical power of attorney in a timely manner is critical.
For those that do not want to incur the minimal cost of obtaining their medical power of attorney paperwork, it should be made clear that if no medical power of attorney exists and members of a family, and/or loved ones, cannot agree on the care to provide to a injured or sick loved one, an expensive guardianship will be the only method for appointing someone as the person responsible to make such important decisions. Obtaining a guardianship from the Court, is a time-consuming and expensive endeavor that can be easily avoided by making sure that your estate planning consists of a valid Texas medical power of attorney.